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Malaysia Facts

Score:62/ 100
Region:Asia
Persecution Type:Islamic oppression
Persecution Level:Very High
Population:32,454,000
Christians:2,951,000
Main Religion:Islam
Government:Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Leader:Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad

Profile of Persecution

Violence 9%
Church Life 58%
National Life 72%
Community Life 76%
Family Life 87%
Private Life 72%

Most people are expected to be Muslim

Every ethnic Malay is expected to be Muslim. Whoever deviates from this is viewed as not just going against the Constitution, but also against society at large, their family and their neighborhood. Roman Catholics and Methodists are watched by the authorities and non-governmental organizations, but non-traditional Protestant groups are more often targeted, as these tend to be more active in testifying about their faith.

How Christians are suffering

Christians from Muslim backgrounds often hide their faith and meet in secret. If discovered, they could face rejection from their family, or be forced to divorce their spouse. Occasionally they may be sent to a re-education camp, or simply disappear.

The fate of Pastor Raymond Koh, abducted in February 2017, is still not clear and the country’s human rights commission in its final report declared that the Special Branch of the police was involved in the abduction. This reality sent chills into the Christian community.

Churches are monitored by the government, and it is illegal to share the gospel with Malay Muslims.

Examples

All children in state-run nursery and elementary schools are required to attend Islamic education. In state schools, Muslim pupils (including Christians with a Muslim background) are required to attend Islamic classes. At the university level, Islamic courses are also mandated.

In February 2017, Pastor Raymond Koh was abducted in broad daylight. The country’s Human Rights Commission has attempted to investigate this incident but has been prevented from freely proceeding with their investigation.

Population and number of Christian statistics: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2019).

 

Pray for Malaysia

  • Pray for protection over secret gatherings of believers from Muslim backgrounds. Pray these times of fellowship would be encouraging and unifying.
  • Pray for new converts who are often kicked out of their homes, isolated from their families and communities, and sent to Islamic re-education camps. Pray for strength and courage.
  • The constitution defines ethnic Malays as Muslims. For this reason, Malays do not have religious liberty to leave Islam and those who practice other religions are forbidden from sharing their faith among Malay Muslims. Pray for change in Malaysia.
  • Pray for continued grace to be upon Susannah Koh and the family. Pray for endurance in the continual search for answers and justice.

Stories from Malaysia

June 30, 2020

‘Die of hunger or convert to Islam’—a life-or-death choice for Christians in COVID-19

Throughout the world, persecuted Christians are faced with a "die or convert" choice in the midst of the COVID-19 global crisis. Read More

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June 25, 2020

Open Doors helps more than 100,000 people with COVID-19 relief

Open Doors has been able to deliver food kits to thousands of families in Asia to help with coronavirus relief. Read More

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June 17, 2020

A Christian girl was kidnapped—Pray NOW!

A parent's worst nightmare and an ongoing crisis for Christian women and girls today reveals persecution against believers in some of its darkest forms. Read More

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